HISTORY OF ROCK & ROLL

HIST 1127 – HISTORY OF ROCK & ROLL
Review Assignment #4 (10%)

“I heard you on the wireless back in ‘52
Lying awake intent at tuning in on you
If I was young it didn’t stop you coming through.”
Buggles, ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’
“Video destroyed the vitality of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Before that, music said, ‘Listen to me.’ Now it says, ‘Look at me.’”
Billy Joel
Rock & Roll has undergone two significant revolutions over the past 40 years: (1) the impact that video has had on the presentation and promotion of artists and their music, notably through such TV stations as MTV and Much Music; and (2) the digitalization of the delivery of music to the consumer, through such innovations as DAT (digital audio tape), the CD (compact disc), the downloading of computer files, the rise of the iPod and streaming. Keep this in mind as you answer the following questions.
Think back over the numerous musicians, singers and bands that we have looked at over the past 13 weeks, or indeed during your own life. In your opinion, which ONE of them would NEVER have succeeded in the music business had physical appearance (i.e. good looks) mattered more than musical ability or talent? Explain your choice. In contrast, now select ONE artist or band whose success rests much more on their physical appearance or image than on their musicianship. Again, explain your choice. (2 marks)
Now consider the so-called “MTV revolution” of the 1980s and 1990s. In your opinion, how did this shift in Rock & Roll from being primarily an “audio” experience to a “visual” experience shape the development and quality of popular music over the past three decades? Remember, you are free to argue that it has actually improved both! (3 marks)
In your opinion, how did the so-called “iPod revolution” and the ability to download music alter the way in which people listened to, appreciated and purchased popular music over the past two decades? What do you think the next likely step in the delivery of music will be? (3 marks)
Finally, Rock & Roll is clearly not dead. Any number of bands around today proves that. Think back over all the songs you have heard or videos you have seen over the past decade. Which one of them would you select as proof that Rock & Roll – whatever it may be and however you define it – has survived the impact of MTV, the iPod and streaming, again giving reasons for your choice. (2 marks)
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